MELBOURNE, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Roger Federer dug himself out of a late slump to fend off American qualifier Noah Rubin 7-5 6-3 7-6(3) on Wednesday and enjoy a confidence-building win on the way to the third round of the Australian Open.
On the comeback trail after six months out of the game, a clinical Federer cruised through the opening two sets but fell into a hole in the third against the plucky world number 200.
Federer needed to save two set points on serve at 5-2 down and then came roaring back to take Rubin to a tiebreak.
The Swiss master, seeded 17th, raced to three match points at 6-3 and closed it out on the first with a crunching forehand that Rubin could only parry high and wide.
Federer plays 10th seed Tomas Berdych in the next round.
Editing by Peter Rutherford